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Why an AI Maturity Assessment Is Critical for the Service Provider’s AI Journey
As service providers and telecoms of various sizes continue to invest heavily in securing customer loyalty and staying ahead in a highly competitive market, one of the key enablers for achieving these goals is artificial intelligence (AI).
There is no doubt, AI represents one of the biggest growth opportunities for multiple industries, and for communication service providers in particular. Those who leverage it with aptitude stand to make an innovative, meaningful, and quantifiable impact on the business.
AI, ML and Big Data for Better Segmentation & Personalization - The Competitive Differentiators Possible with AIAmong the many new capabilities that service providers can gain only with AI are:
Driving personalized customer engagements: with offers and support that customers need most, delivered when they need them most, and on their channel of choice. The importance of personalization cannot be understated. According to recent research, 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience. And, according to an Accenture survey, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations; with 48% of consumers leaving a website to make a purchase on a competitor’s site because the experience was poorly curated.
For more information on driving personalization for telecom customers, see our Human vs. Machines: How to Stop Your Virtual Agent from Lagging Behind.
Improving upsell/cross-sell efforts: by combining artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics for greater segmentation granularity and for more effective next best action (NBA) and next best offer (NBO) recommendations.
Transforming telco customer care: by guiding customer service agents with real-time customer data, and recommendations on how to tailor the care engagement to the customer’s individual needs, accelerating resolutions and avoiding repeat calls.
Accelerating the AI Journey - Full Scale AI Deployments in Telecom Yet to GrowYet, with all of these benefits and opportunities for innovation, the number of full-scale AI deployments among service providers is still rather small, at just under 20%, according to Ovum's ICT Enterprise Insights 2017/18 survey. This indeed is surprising, considering the fact that those who hold back on AI, will likely get left behind and miss the bountiful opportunities that AI can bring.
Perhaps this phenomenon could be attributed to a great challenge that is associated with the service provider’s AI journey. That is, it can be a complex task to arrive at an accurate understanding of where to invest in order to be able to move ahead with AI efficiently and effectively.
Accordingly, to help service providers create a focused action plan for accelerating the AI journey, Amdocs, in partnership with Ovum, has designed an assessment model that identifies the service provider’s “AI maturity level.”
The 4 Levels of AI MaturityThis model aims to support service providers in understanding where the organization’s strengths are, and where there are gaps to be filled, so they can put together a practical action plan.
Towards this end, Ovum has identified four core phases of AI maturity:
- AI Novice: still in assessment mode and has not started the AI journey;
- AI Ready: able to move forward and implement AI, but still has issues that need to be addressed if to make further progress;
- AI Proficient: made solid progress in the AI journey and has a reasonable degree of practical experience with AI and an understanding of how to leverage it – but there are still some gaps and limitations to be addressed;
- AI Advanced: at the most mature developmental phase, possessing a good level of AI expertise and can demonstrate a proven track record across a range of use cases.
AI Maturity Model PillarsIn the AI maturity model each level is determined based on five core assessment pillars and associated assessment criteria:
- Strategy: The strategy pillar examines the state and nature of a CSP's plan of action and road map to support AI.
- Organization: how culturally and organizationally ready the service provider is to support AI and its effects on business transformation;
- Data: the state and availability of data assets and analytics capabilities, as these are crucial for a successful AI deployment.
- Technology: the different AI technologies and capabilities that are being leveraged and how the service provider has gone about implementing AI solutions;
- Operations: where and how AI is being implemented across several core operational elements, including customer support, sales and marketing engagement, among others, in both a B2C and B2B context.
Each pillar has different parameters that should be evaluated in accordance with a set number of attributes. Once this evaluation process is complete, it becomes very clear what are the areas that are AI-ready, and which require more attention. To help CSPs further, we have crafted recommendations relevant to each AI maturity phase and across each core pillar.
AI Maturity Assessment Roadmap for Service ProvidersTo learn more about how to accurately gauge your own AI maturity level regarding each of the five main pillars, and how this can accelerate your AI journey, we invite you to download the whitepaper, “How to Achieve AI Maturity and Why It Matters: An AI maturity assessment model and road map for Service providers,” here.
Blog post by Roni Dvir, Product Marketing Manager, Digital Intelligence
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Customer experience: the new immutable law of business
Back in 1993, the authors of 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing declared that it’s better to be first than it is to be better. And for the next two decades, the business world seemed to agree that being first to market with a new product or service was the key to lasting commercial success. Even if the product wasn’t quite up to par or still had a few kinks, the common thinking was that being first is of utmost importance to cement the relationship with the customer.
Fast forward to today. We’re living in a different reality. Today’s consumers have seemingly infinite choices, and while novelty, price, and brand loyalty still play a role in the types of products we choose, the fastest growing differentiator is user experience (see Forrester US Customer Experience Index). If consumers feel that they are being treated well by the brand, if the services they receive meet or exceed their expectations, and if the product is easy to use and works consistently reliably across devices, they are more likely to stay. Chances are good that they’ll stick with their chosen service provider for the overall customer experience they provide, and be open to cross- and up-sell opportunities.
1. Service Providers Should Focus on the Optimal User Experience
The task of assuring optimal digital user experience is far from simple for service providers. The complexity and range of device types, screen sizes and resolution, platforms, operating systems, browsers, locations and many other variables make it exceedingly difficult to ensure a great user experience for all users at all times. In fact, it’s so difficult that organizations are beginning to realize that they need dedicated programs as part of their quality engineering efforts to focus on ensuring the highest quality omni-channel digital user experience.
2. Ensure Service Provider Systems Front-end and Back-end Work Seamlessly
Naturally, what users see on their screen is important for the connection that they form with a product or service, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. The optimal user experience depends on the flawless interaction between the customer facing front-end and the enabling back-end -- the various interconnected systems such as service provider billing, provisioning, CRM, etc. that keep the whole thing running. Testing of each of these distinct aspects separately is a complex task in and of itself, and ensuring the smooth flow of information between the back and front ends requires specialized knowledge and a toolset that few service provider organizations have in-house.
3. Leverage User Experience Quality Assurance and Quality Engineering Services
Amdocs User Experience Quality Assurance solution includes several services aimed at helping our clients achieve optimal user experience across multiple channels such as mobile & web, retail, media and more. We are in a unique position to offer our customers an unmatched combination of tools, best practices, quality assurance frameworks, and expertise in both the front-end and enabling back-end systems.
Amdocs brings automation frameworks to help eliminate mistakes and enable faster time-to-value; advanced analytic tools to uncover business insights from the service providers' customer data; end-to-end functional and non-functional quality assurance expertise in addition to performance, usability, accessibility, security and visual tests. Combining our solutions with those of our partners to create tailored user experience quality assurance best practices, we focus on the most essential element of today’s business -- delivering the optimal customer experience.
To learn more, visit Amdocs Quality Engineering.
Contribution by Tamar Weinreb Haviv
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Telecom Self-Service Helps to Drive Down Operational Costs
Automated Provisioning Makes Self-service for International Data Packages a Great Customer Experience
When I landed at Warsaw airport this summer, I bought myself a local SIM card from a Polish carrier store. But only after I bought it did the salesman tell me the network had been down since the morning. This really stressed me out. I was totally reliant on Waze and couldn’t start my drive to my destination without a data package.
Feeling very frustrated, I looked at my home service provider’s app to check the cost of an international data package. To my delight, there was an option to activate a data package from abroad right from the app! I subscribed, and within seconds was connected to the world again.
So my telecom’s customer self-service saved my summer vacation and showed how it has developed from a very basic tool into a true business enabler, making customers satisfied with their experience. This is the gist of the “self-service first” mindset, that can drive new digital service sales.
Telecom Self-Service ROI - Enable Both Lower Call Center Costs and Better Customer Product Experience
Until recently, the main motivation behind investing in telecom self-service channels was to cut down call center costs. The math was pretty convincing: even the simplest self-service tools, which quickly addressed customer common support needs such as viewing bill history and recent payments, significantly reduced field visits and call center calls. In 2016, for example, after launching self-service mobile apps, Telefonica Argentina showed 22% fewer field visits and 16% fewer support calls. Telstra improved its self-resolution rates by 50% and reduced field visits by 27%, and AT&T was able to reduce help desk calls by 75% (source: 451 research).
Encouraged by this promising ROI, service providers kept investing in an increasingly better self-serve product experience, which is now embedded in many service provider native apps. On their journey to transform into digital service providers, they are now gradually starting to examine every customer touchpoint and put deep thought into how to simplify, streamline, and edit the various customer flows to help customers explore their account history, upgrade their media and entertainment packages, purchase devices or accessories, or top up their data plans quickly and efficiently.
Recent research shows impressive results following the implementation of telecom self-service channels. According to TM Forum, between 2017-2018, most service providers saw a steady increase in the Self Service native app usage by its customers. T-Mobile enjoyed an increase of 27% in mobile app visits, and MTN and Singtel almost doubled the number of mobile app downloads. In terms of cost reduction and revenue growth, Etisalat has seen a 15% reduction in customer care calls, Singtel reduced call center calls by 13%, and Optus grew its sales through its mobile app by 20%.
What’s next for Telecom Self-Service - Customer Data and Insight
As service providers move towards new consumer offerings, content, OTT applications, commerce and enterprise services, the need to sustain excellent communications channels that, in addition to self-service and support, will become the key vehicle to market these offerings. Websites and native mobile apps and the valuable data accumulated by them enable service providers to learn about customers and translate this data into highly targeted campaigns and loyalty programs offering personalized packages, products and services.
The equation is clear: the more service providers make it easy to buy from and do business with, the more people buy from them. It’s as simple as that.
Come see us at CEM for Telecom in Prague where we will demonstrate how Amdocs Optima, whose latest version becomes generally available this month, enables innovative service providers to offer digital services through great self-service, or contact us to learn more.
Author: Shiri Yitzhaki is Product Marketing Manager for Amdocs Optima, responsible for Amdocs Optima’s marketing initiatives, strategy and go-to-market activities. Previously, she held various marketing leadership positions in the Israeli telecom and security industry.
- Customer experience: the new immutable law of business
- 3 Key Ingredients for Delivering Outstanding Digital Experience to Today’s Demanding Customers
- The 5 key capabilities required for achieving an intelligent 360-degree view of customers
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100 Smart Cities…in India!
Last week I was in New Delhi, a city of contradictions. It wasn’t my first time there, nor will it be my last. But out of all my visits to India, this one was the most inspiring.
The reason I visited New Delhi was to present at the 4th National Summit on 100 Smart Cities in India. The smart city project, also known as the ‘Smart City Mission’, is a 5-year program announced by the Indian government in 2015 whose mission is to develop select Indian cities across the country, making them citizen-friendly and sustainable. A budget of $14 billion was allocated to fund the program, with the remainder of the required funds expected to come from the Indian states (circles), urban bodies and the consortium they form with corporate entities.
Smart Cities Around the WorldSmart cities have been in planning and on the minds of many across the world for years. For example, Alphabet Inc.’s urban innovation company, Sidewalk Labs, chose a deserted area in Toronto as its first ever smart-city project to be built from scratch in 2020. Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates, bought nearly 25,000 acres in the Arizona desert to build a smart city. And India refuses to be left behind. GIFT city is India’s first smart city, built from the ground up. With every aspect of urban living pre-planned and a super modern infrastructure, GIFT city enjoys benefits that other cities can only hope for.
But what about already established cities, some which are even centuries old? Are they doomed to be left behind? Not a chance. There are a lot of smart cities initiatives, and many other cities are at the forefront of smart evolution. Major cities such as Copenhagen, Boston, San Francisco, London, Singapore and Montreal are competing for their ranking in the ‘smart city index’. They already excel in hyper-internet connectivity, smart city infrastructure such as smart parking services or smart public transportation, while monitoring air quality and emission levels. And this is only the beginning.
Over the next 30 years, cities are expected to grow significantly, with a projected 50% growth in population since 2000. At that point, almost 70% of the world’s population will be urban. Cities must be prepared to be able to provide all the services that their residents will be demanding, and to cope with the strain put on their limited resources.
Sustainable Planning for Smart CitiesOne of the main aspects of the smart city infrastructure is transportation. Today, 73% of the world’s population spends an average of over 90 minutes on the road each day, and congestion is expected to increase with the growth of cities and the number of commuters travelling in and out of the city. The basic ‘civil’ right to move around effectively is under significant pressure. Combine this with current social trends such as shared rides, which are expected to reach 25% of the total mobility in cities by 20301, or mobility as a service and the technological advancements around autonomous, connected and electric vehicles. Although progressing at different speeds, it is clear that the city as we know it is in the midst of a revolutionary transformation process.
All of these changes rely on a communication infrastructure as the backbone, as well as the ability to gather data from endless sources and analyze it intelligently, deducing relevant actionable insights and building out the civic experience. Last but not least, effective monetization is imperative to fund and continuously improve services to city dwellers.
Amdocs is a market leader providing solutions and services to telecommunication and media companies of all sizes across the globe to support digital transformation. In this regard, Amdocs is perfectly positioned to support the smart city revolution globally.
Interested in learning more about smart cities? Contact me to start the conversation.
1 McKinsey, Morgan Stanley, Roland Berger BCG, Tech Crunch, Strategy&, public sources, team analysis).